Tuesday 16 April 2024

Orange and Red.

 Lisa has just had a couple of weeks off from her dancing work, which has given us a few chances to get out and about in nature.

During the first week we had an early Green Hairstreak on my patch, this was equal the earliest date I have seen this species. We saw it in a brief sunnier spell and unfortunately the butterfly flew deep into the bushes pretty much as soon as we saw it. However, it was great to get one of these beauties so early. Fingers crossed for many more sightings in the next few weeks.

This past weekend was spent over in West Sussex. The Friday was spent covering 3 sites hoping for Green Hairstreak and Orange-tip. Before we went to the main sites for these we paid a visit to a site for Green-winged Orchids. Although quite early in their season we did find a few nice specimens coming through, and one in particular was worthy of some photos. We also had a very nice male Emperor Moth which gave Lisa her best photo of this species to date.

Green-winged Orchid.

Male Emperor Moth.

The Hairstreak site was very windy and we only saw a single one. However, throughout the day we did see Orange-tips at all the other 3 sites, with many seen in a small wooded section we walked through. At one point I even had 2 male Orange-tips nectaring together. In the same area I also had my first ever sighting of the small plant, Moschatel. This is a lovely little plant that has the nickname Town Hall Clock' as it has 4 sides on the flower with each side looking a little like a clock!!

Two Male Orange-tips.


On the Saturday we had a full day at one of the Sussex Wildlife Trust reserves at Ebernoe Common. Here we had many more Orange-tips, both male and female. Some interesting observations were also had of the species, with seeing a little bit of egg laying, female rejecting the advances of a male, a female roosting on Cuckoo-flower as soon as the sun went in, and another female choosing to roost high up a tree.

Female Orange-tip resting during egg laying.

Female Orange-tip rejecting the advances of a male.

Female Orange-tip roosting on Cuckoo-flower.

At this site we also heard several Nightingales and our first Cuckoo of the year. Bluebells were looking fabulous, and Early Purple Orchids growing amongst the Bluebells were also good to see. 

We also had our first odonata of the year with a large emergence of Large Red Damselflies. Another damselfly we saw was probably an Azure Damselfly.

Large Red Damselfly.

On Sunday morning we headed to Pulborough Brooks RSPB. Although it was quite busy here we did have a pretty good morning. Once again Nightingales and a Cuckoo were heard. 2 Adders were seen basking in the sun together, and we also had excellent views of a very vocal Sedge Warbler. At this site too there were plenty of Large Red Damselflies emerging.

Sedge Warbler singing away.

Large Red Damselfly.


  1. Fantastic showing Bob, the Male Emperor Moth and Sedge Warbler singing.